With the first episode of Caught under our wide, leather belts—catch up on “The Break” here—Monday night’s new instalment “Old Wounds” promises to dig more into Slaney (Allan Hawco) and Hearn’s (Eric Johnson) past. I can’t help but wonder if that will include Jennifer.
As played by Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue, Mary Kills People), viewers have gotten a taste of what Jennifer is all about. She has a daughter Slaney thinks of as his own even though the infant is not his. And Jennifer hates the fact Slaney got roped into Hearn’s drug boat purchase. Of course, she had a right to be upset; Slaney got caught and put into prison.
I spoke to Sullivan during a break in filming last summer in downtown Hamilton, Ont., about Caught, adapting a novel for the screen and saying goodbye when a project wraps production.
Had you worked with Allan Hawco on anything before? Did you ever guest-star in an episode of Republic of Doyle?
Charlotte Sullivan: No, I had never met him. He’s so sweet.
What can you tell me about Jennifer?
It’s a bit of a tragic story. Without giving away too much—because there is a major twist coming—she has a secret and she has been keeping it from Slaney to keep him. And she has to make a choice between Slaney and her daughter. And you know how that’s going to go. It’s a horrible decision. They have a very passionate love affair that’s very intense and I think it’s based solely on tragedy.
What were your thoughts on this miniseries after reading the book?
It’s a little bit different. There’s a lot of pressure to take a book that is so critically acclaimed and then turn it into a TV or film project. I always say that it’s a bit of a poison chalice because it’s an honour to get to do it, but there will be people who are pissed off.
What was your takeaway of the story after reading Lisa Moore’s novel?
If there is a book, I always want to read it before I watch the film. I love to see how close they got it, or how off the mark they were. You also pick up on little nuances that maybe you wouldn’t have picked up on before. But it is tough to take something like this but from what I’ve seen of the esthetic so far, it’s going to be stunning. It’s the 70s and you get to play with that time period. I just love esthetics. I mean, look at these clothes. We went to a couple of stores and didn’t find Jennifer in there. And then we went to a vintage store and said, ‘Jennifer is in there!’ That’s the creative collaboration.
Did you audition for the role of Jennifer?
Oh yeah. I put myself on tape and sent it in. I was in the middle of shooting something else and I needed the time to take away from that before I could send them a tape because I get so emotionally caught up in [the current role].
Does a short-run project like Caught excite you because it’s not an 18-episode season?
I find it kind of tragic, actually. Just because I don’t want it to end. Even with the longer seasons, you’d be amazed at how fast they go. Filming is tragic for actors because you’ve built your own community and connection with people and it’s wonderful and magical. And then it completely dissipates. I actually go through a little bit of depression when I’ve had a really great experience. I come home and I’m like, ‘Ah, that was so beautiful and lovely.’ And you feel so lucky because you were able to do it. After Rookie Blue it took me a month to get over it. I just moped around.
Caught airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.
Image courtesy of CBC.